BOOK REVIEW: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

It’s no secret that I love a bit of Young Adult fiction and I have been known to jump on the bandwagon for the latest hyped up series. I suppose it’s a desire for a bit of escapism. The Bone Season falls into that category. 

In the year 2059 Scion London is ruled by a powerful and ruthless government dedicated to identifying out and controlling “unnaturals”. These are “voyant” humans who are able to use the aether and spirits that were released when Edward VII dabbled with the occult in an attempt to increase his power.

With the only available option to join the Scion force sniffing out their own kind, many voyants live in secret gangs within the capital, using their skills and abilities to survive and profit. One such voyant is dreamwalker, Paige, who is a member of the The Seven Dials under Jaxon Hall. When Paige unintentionally kills someone and is captured she discovers that Scion is the least of her worries.

I feel like I am forced to start with the bad here. Shannon has created a super complex mythology… which is great, except that it requires a lot of exposition and leaves plenty of room for reader confusion. Reading on Kindle makes it very hard to refer back to a “glossary”, which this probably needs (and potentially has in paperback form). It also tends to slow down the narrative a bit. Needless to say it took a fair bit of getting into.

It also didn’t feel terribly original. Paige doesn’t massively stand out as a character and she’s a bit Mary Sue-ish. Some of the energy that should have been put into expanding the secondary characters is redirected into the mythology and they’re a bit one dimensional. I also wondered a lot about the relationship between Paige and her captor being romanticised. There is way too much Stockholm Syndrome as a basis for attraction going on in novels aimed at teenage girls.

All of that said, as a switch off your brain, popcorn type novel, it is very readable and I am likely to read the remaining novels in the series as and when I fancy a bit of mindless reading, much like I will happily watch Geordie Shore when I don’t feel like I can cope with any more of The Handmaid’s Tale.

I can’t say I would necessarily recommend The Bone Season but you could do worse.

2.5/5

2 Comments

  1. I have never read any YA fiction, but have read glowing reviews of a lot of novels in the genre. From your review of this one, it feels rather formulaic, and has a ‘done before’ sound.
    Thanks for a well-balanced review, Abbi.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. There are some great novels within the genre and if it’s getting young people into reading then I think the more the better… it can lead to a bit of cashing in on what is popular though, from both authors and publishers. I am interested to see how the series unfolds. They tend to either improve as the author gains confidence or crash and burn because they hadn’t thought much past their first outing.

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